How One Man’s Trip Around the World Became a Culinary Adventure

By ABC News

May 26, 2014 7:22am

ABC News’ Daniel Litke reports:

Unemployment and the end of a seven-year marriage inspired Allan Karl to pursue an opportunity he had always dreamed of.  He got on his motorcycle and set off on a trip around the world.

Three years, 62,000 miles, 35 countries, and five continents later Allan Karl has returned and shared his journey on “Good Morning America” today. In his book, “Forks: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection,” Karl documents his travels through the many stories, images and recipes he collected.

Click HERE for More Photos from ‘Forks’

Karl may have set off on his journey alone but food certainly kept him company. Various dishes and the stories that came with them ultimately stirred Karl to include cuisine in his book.

Moqueca, a Brazilian fish stew, motivated him to give food a central role in his story. He began collecting recipes and the stories that came with them.

He remembers eating a fattoush salad in a dirty gas station in Syria, what he describes as the “last place I would expect to have such a fresh dish.”

He also recollects eating in a restaurant in Kenya with several strangers sharing the same dish and eating from the same loaf of bread.

“That, to me, is where food works as a conduit, and really can connect people and bring us together,” he said.

“Forks” includes moqueca and fattoush salad as part of 40 recipes from around the world. Karl hopes these recipes connect his experiences with others just as food managed to connect him with strangers.

“That’s why I wrote the book,” Karl said, “so I can share those experiences with others.”

Here is Karl’s recipe for moqueca from “Forks: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection”:

Ingredients:

4 to 6 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium red onions, finely chopped

3 spring onions, white part only, thinly sliced

1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley

1 cup finely chopped cilantro

1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced into thin strips

2 to 3 Malagueta peppers (hot red chiles), seeded and minced

4 medium tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped

2 pound of fish such as monkfish, kingfish, grouper, salmon, or mahi mahi, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 pound fresh shrimp or scallops, shelled and deveined

Juice of 3 lemons

1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

½ cup chicken broth

4 tablespoons dendê oil (Brazilian red palm oil)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cooked white rice, to serve

Preparation:

Smash the garlic, remove the skin, and add a little kosher salt while chopping to form a paste.

  1. Heat a large clay pot or Dutch oven over a medium-low flame, add a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic paste, red and spring onions, and cook until the onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add parsley, cilantro, bell peppers, chiles, and tomatoes, and when the herb aromas fill the air, after about 5 minutes, add another splash of olive oil and ground pepper.
  3. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fish and shrimp, season with salt, and carefully place the chunks on top of the herbs.
  4. Slowly add the coconut milk, chicken broth, and dendê oil, without stirring
  5. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until fish is cooked completely and flavors have married.
  6. Serve directly at the table with white rice, and open the lid to let everyone indulge in the aromas of the moqueca as it is served.

Note:

To peel tomatoes for this dish, remove core and dip into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately into ice water. Skin will peel away easily.

Variation:

If dendê oil is unavailable, you can use olive oil mixed with 2 teaspoons of achiote powder.

 

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